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IRL chairman hopes Tõniste will help authorities in benefit fraud case

Helir-Valdor Seeder. Foreground: Toomas Tõniste.
Helir-Valdor Seeder. Foreground: Toomas Tõniste. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Commenting on the preliminary investigation of newly appointed IRL minister Toomas Tõniste's company for suspected benefit fraud, party chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said on Tuesday that he hoped Tõniste would help the authorities along wherever possible.

Seeder said he hoped that the investigating authorities would find out the truth, and that the court would then come to a “just decision”. Meanwhile he hoped that Tõniste would help them do just that, he added.

According to information available to ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera, Tõniste's brother-in-law and business partner Erik Nigola is being investigated for benefit fraud. There are three suspects in the case, one of which is Tõniste's own business, of which two properties were apparently used to defraud the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB) of almost half a million euros.

Tõniste himself is not a suspect, the prosecutor confirmed to ERR.

Seeder added that the Ministry of Finance didn't “play a big role in this process”. ARIB did its own audits of its financial activities, and as its money was to a large extent European money, the European Commission did its own checks as well.

Certainly this wasn't a point at which Tõniste should be required to step down again as Minister of Finance, Seeder said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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